Did you have that dream again?

The holiday season finally seems to be wrapping up which is nice, things got a little hectic for a while there, recreational homicide did cross my mind. More than once. Hopefully things can settle back into a manageable routine now.

For some reason people bestowed gifts upon me, even though I’ve been behaving like an emotionally unstable six-year-old and probably don’t actually deserve any of these nice things.

coffee maccaron
Maybe it’s because I bribed them with fresh home made mocha maccarons?

But we won’t go into that here.

The family gifted a coffee capsule machine to me.

Aldi Expressi
Aldi Expressi coffee pod machine from the family.

It has been an exciting experience; you may or may not be aware that I love coffee so much I made myself very ill and couldn’t touch caffeine at all for the better part of three years.

Realistically I probably shouldn’t have spent the past year weaning myself back onto the stuff, but we’re not here to question the quality of my life choices.

Food rituals are my jam. Drinking coffee isn’t necessarily about the drinking itself, but a genuine enjoyment for measuring and grinding beans then lighting up the siphon or pulling a double espresso from the old Sunbeam.

Despite any relation caffeine may or may not have to insomnia and anxiety (both of which I retained during my three year abstinence anyway), the preparation process is undoubtedly a meditative ritual; requiring complete focus to correctly complete the task but also an acceptance that “correct” is subjective, therefore universal perfection can never be achieved- thus helping to separate outside tasks and return to them with a fresh perspective.

Hario siphon and Sunbeam automatic espresso.
That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

Recipes vary. Equipment varies. Methods vary. The arguments discussions spawned take on religious, political, and philosophical tones. If milk or sugar is added then do you even enjoy the coffee at all?

Point is, pod machines minimise the associated ritual and I didn’t know how to feel about that.

Modern convenience?
Convenient, but wasteful; the pods are generally not reusable and must be disposed of. Is it any better or worse than take-away beverages in paper cups?

You drop the capsule in the top, press one of the buttons, and there you go. An average- yet consistent- cup of coffee awaits.

Expressi capsule coffee machine.
Adjustable platform for different cup sizes.

Once used, you lift the lever again to drop the capsule into a little bin inside the unit; which can be easily removed for cleaning.

Some third-party companies produce reusable and biodegradable pods, however you must be sure to check the specifications on each variety as there are no universal standards, so pods are not often interchangeable between different machines.

Standard pods can be manually dismantled after use and recycled accordingly; though the fiddly process may negate the “convenience” appeal for some people.

Removable bin and drain.
Removable bin and drain.

The entire machine sits on top of a storage drawer for the capsules, though this, along with the capsules themselves, are sold separately, as Aldi have a range of different storage options and capsule varieties available.

coffee capsules
The coffee itself is palatable, if a little stale, but generally pleasant.

Aside from one initial mishap, the idea has grown on me.

A cruel joke.
In a selection pack with several different coffee varieties inside, which is the very first one I grab, at random, without reading the label? Fucking decaf. That’ll learn me for being hasty.

It’s good for rushed days when there’s no time for complicated rituals, or when having a lot of guests to entertain, or if you’re in poor health and can barely drag your sorry ass to the kitchen- let alone summon the strength to grind coffee beans.

So I welcome it to the kitchen for what it is, and have been enjoying sampling the different varieties available; which (thankfully) do have distinctive flavours (because I’d be looking for somebody to punch if they all tasted like the decaffi).

India blend is my favourite so far.

Compared with a freshly ground espresso pulled from the old Sunbeam automatic (using The Perfect Hit’s “Addict” blend today), the capsules have a pale crema, and the liquid itself is a little transparent, more watery, not as viscous, nor flavour as strong.

It should be noted that I rarely drink anything other than black coffee; short, long, cold-drip with plain soda, or, very occasionally, brewed with a dash of salt. Dairy milk and sugar don’t do it for me (though an almond or coconut milk latte might tempt me once or twice every year or so), but for people who do regularly enjoy such additives, it may help to mask any unpleasant stale or bitterness in the capsules.

Also there are hot chocolates with strange flavours I haven’t looked too far into at this point, but imagine mocha fans would be all over that. Like a rash. Picture it in your mind. It’s difficult to say how they are all over the liquid instead of the liquid all over them but I don’t make the rules.

Personal opinion and lifestyle habits will determine whether or not you have any use for one of these in your life (taste is subjective, some people put soluble powder in hot water and call that coffee), so it seems at best kind of pointless and at worst entirely misleading to attach any form of scaled rating system here.

You might not even like coffee at all. Do what you want. Make a spiced pumpkin decaf soy chai latte with spoonfuls of coconut oil and half a cup of agave syrup if that’s your thing.

The first step is admitting you have a problem.
You shouldn’t be taking advice from somebody who legitimately owns a one-shot stove-top moka-pot anyway.

Own it. Own up to it.